AFC – BANGKOK, Defending champions Mes Sungun Varzeqan of Islamic Republic of Iran advanced to the final of the AFC Futsal Club Championship Thailand 2019 in style, defeating AGMK FC 7-3 in their semi-final on Thursday.
Mes Sungun will face three-time champions Nagoya Oceans of Japan in the final on Saturday, while AGMK will take on Vietnam’s Thai Son Nam FC in the third place play-off.
The final will be a thriller, with Mes Sungun eager to atone for their defeat to the Japanese side in a Group D tie on Monday.
Mes Sungun showed their intent as early as the first minute when they came close to scoring through Mohammad Shajari but his effort was blocked by AGMK goalkeeper Rustam Umarov.
Mahdi Javid almost broke the deadlock two minutes later but the 2018 MVP smashed his effort against the bar after finding space at the top of the arc.
Mes Sungun would come close again in the 15th minute but Alireza Vafaei saw his long-range effort denied by the upright.
The Iranian side finally opened the scoring through Javid, who exchanged passes with Alireza Askari Kohan before finding the back of the net.
Mes Sungun doubled their lead in the 18th minute through captain Farhad Fakhim, who finished off Javid’s assist from the edge of the area.
AGMK were a shadow of the side that had beaten Port FC in the quarter-finals as they conceded again two minutes later when Shajari scored from above the arc off a Javid assist.
There was no stopping Mes Sungun as they added their fourth goal in the 16th minute through Javid who fired his effort past Umarov from the right flank following Abolghasem Orouji’s shot which came off the post.
AGMK suffered a blow when Khusniddin Nishonov received his marching orders after picking up his second yellow card.
Despite being a man down, AGMK rallied and scored two goals in the final two minutes, the first from Akbar Usmonov who finished off Davron Choriev’s assist from close range and then, Choriev scored after capitalizing on a defensive error to reduce the deficit going into the break.
AGMK threatened at the start of the second half as they pushed for goals with Mes Sungun goalkeeper Alireza Samimi constantly in the thick of the action.
The Uzbekistan side came close in the 29th minute but Davron Valijonov, with only the goalkeeper to beat, failed to latch onto Dilshod Rakhmatov’s cross from the right.
AGMK were punished for the miss as Mes Sungun increased their advantage two minutes later through Askari Kohan’s strike from above the arc.
AGMK responded immediately through Rakhmatov’s effort a minute later to reduce the deficit and then initiated the power play.
The plan backfired though as Mes Sungun scored two quick goals through Javid in the 36th minute to seal their place in the final.
Aleksandr Petrov: AGMK head coach
“After conceding four goals, we played our game and scored two goals before half-time but our players were tired and in the second half, we made mistakes which eventually cost us the match.”
Esmaeil Taghipour: Mes Sungun Varseqan head coach
“We knew it was going to be a difficult match for us, especially at this stage of the competition. However, my players did well against the Uzbekistan team. We had to rotate our players and because of that, we conceded two goals in the first half.”